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Great Smoky Mountains, NC

SOLD OUT! (Put me on the waiting list)

Apr 20 - Apr 27, 2019 -- $1300 ★★

Even if you have been on one of our Fatpacking trips through the Smokies before, you will want to join us again for a somewhat different route that promises to be awe inspiring (as well as all perspiring). The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited National Park in the country, but despite its popularity and proximity to major population centers, our trek will provide plenty of solitude from the crowds and access to one of the most beautiful displays of wildflowers you can find in the lower 48. Your guides will be happy to identify them for you.

Spring is a great time to be in the Smokies just as flowers begin to bloom, trees start to leaf out, and weather becomes temperate.

The park is an amazing wilderness featuring an abundance of wildlife including deer, elk, wild boar, black bears and even red wolves. This trip has most everything you can find in the Smokies: wildflowers, virgin forest, vistas, wildlife and preserved pioneer dwellings.

Beginning and ending at the Big Creek Ranger station in North Carolina, we will head up to the Appalachian Trail and cross over it into Tennessee. We'll hike through the lightly traveled Cosby area of the park, going back up and over the Appalachian Trail to NC where we'll find Pretty Hollow Gap, a very pretty place indeed. Then we head back over Mt. Sterling toward Big Creek.

Spring is high season in the Smokies, so won’t you join us?


Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures in the 70s and 80s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s and 50s. However, be prepared for the possibility of day temperatures as high as 90 and as low as 30, with an occasional chance of rainfall and on rare occasion, snowfall. Here is the historical April weather Be prepared for cold temps at high elevation (we had snow one year) as well as warm sunny weather or rain.

Trip Leaders

Bruce Cannon
Steve Silberberg


$1300 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another trip participant. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Asheville Airport (AVL), as well as personal equipment restaurant meals and gratuities for guides. You may also be charged for any parking charges for leaving your car at the hotel all week (probably none, but they sometimes charge for this).

Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation to/from Asheville and the National Park, park permits, insurance, satellite phone and awesome guides.


Our route crosses creeks and streams several times. There are usually bridges, but there are a few water crossings without them. Be prepared to wear water shoes and use trekking poles to walk through water (generally ankle deep but sometimes knee deep) in order to cross these waterways.

While all Fatpacking trips are difficult, this one might be considered somewhat less strenuous than others because of fewer and more gradual elevation changes and solid footing, even if mileages are a little longer.

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Drive or fly into Asheville Airport (AVL). The best time to arrive is between around Noon-3PM. However, if you can save a substantial amount on your flight by arriving a few hours earlier or later, then do so.

Take the free airport shuttle to Wingate by Wyndham Asheville Airport, 155 Underwood Rd, Fletcher, NC 28732, 828-684-4311

Equipment shakedown

Trail mix distribution

Go to Diamond Brand Outdoor Shop, 2623 Hendersonville Rd. • Arden, NC 28704 • 800-459-6262 • for last minute equipment if necessary

"Before" measurements taken

Go out for dinner at a local restaurant (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Start the hike at the Big Creek Ranger Station, elevation 1600'.

Hike 2.1 miles on the Chestnut Branch trail to the Appalachian Trail, elevation 2800'. A good steady climb to start our trip.

Continuing our climb, hike 1.0 miles on the Appalachian Trail, perhaps encountering thru-hikers, to the Mt. Camerer Trail, elevation 3400'

Hike 4.1 gradually descending miles on the Lower Mt. Camerer Trail to campsite #35 (Gilliland Fork), elevation 2600'

Camp at campsite #35 (Gilliland Fork), elevation 2600'

Total miles today = 7.2. Total miles = 7.2

Monday, April 22, 2019

Hike 3.2 miles on the Lower Mt. Camerer Trail to the Cosby Frontcountry campground, elevation 2250'. There are outhouses with running water here.

Hike 4.8 miles on Gabe's Mountain Trail to Campsite #34, elevation 3150'

Camp at Campsite #34, elevation 3150'

Total miles today = 8.0. Total miles = 15.2

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Hike 1.5 miles on Gabe's Mountain Trail to the Maddron Bald Trail

Hike 1.7 miles on the Maddron Bald Trail to the Albright Loop Trail.

Hike 3.7 miles on the Albright Loop Trail and Maddron Bald Trail to campsite #29, Otter Creek, elevation 4550'

Miles today = 6.9. Total miles = 22.1

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Hike 1.0 uphill miles on the Maddron Bald Trail, past Maddron Bald to the Snake Den Ridge Trail

Hike 0.7 miles to the Appalachian Trail, Yellow Creek Gap

Hike 4.7 miles along the AT past Camel Hump Knob to the Low Gap Trail

Hike 2.5 miles on the Low Gap Trail to Campsite #37, Big Creek.

Camp at Campsite #37, Big Creek, elevation 3000’

Total miles today = 8.9. Total miles = 31.0

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Hike 4.0 miles up the Swallow Fork Trail to Pretty Gap

Hike 1.8 uphill miles to on the Mount Sterling Ridge Trail to campsite 38, Mt. Sterling

Camp at campsite 38, Mt. Sterling, elevation 5700'

Miles today = 5.8. Total miles = 36.8

Friday, April 26, 2019

Hike back 0.8 miles on the Cabin Flats Trails to Dry Sluice Gap Trail

Descend gently 0.3 miles to the Bradley Fork Trail

Hike 7.1 downhill miles down the Baxter Creek Trail to the Big Creek Ranger Station, elevation 1600’

Miles today = 7.1. Total miles = 43.9

Shuttle back to Wingate by Wyndham Asheville Airport, 155 Underwood Rd, Fletcher, NC 28732, 828-684-4311

After measurements taken

Dinner and awards Ceremony (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Take the free airport shuttle

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